National Certificate in Dance

National Certificate in Dance

National Certificates (NCs) are practical qualifications that are designed to equip learners with the knowledge and skills (including Core Skills) required for further study or to gain employment.

The NC in Dance at SCQF level 6 is designed for those with an interest in dance. It develops skills, knowledge and understanding of a range of practical aspects of dance, such as different genres (eg classical ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, etc); choreography; safe dance practice; and commercial dance. It also includes a range of theory topics such as anatomy; dance appreciation; dance and technology; and history of dance. It also develops transferable skills such as self-discipline, professionalism, commitment, collaboration and creative thinking which are vital for the dance industry.

National Certificates (NCs) are designed for full-time delivery over one year (or part-time over two years) and are available through schools, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

NCs bridge the progression gap from school attainment to HN and other study. They are suitable for school leavers and those seeking a route back into study at non-advanced level. They are trusted qualifications having been developed by practitioners.

The NC in Dance at SCQF level 6 is straightforward to deliver and slots readily into college timetables.
The NC in Dance at SCQF level 6 has been designed with a small number of mandatory Units – two Units - so individual centres can create a flexible qualification which can be tailored to meets local needs and requirements.
It can be offered in the following modes:

  • full-time
  • part-time

National Certificates have e-assessment and e-learning options — improving flexibility and enabling time and cost savings.

The majority of assessment for the NC in Dance at SCQF level 6 is practical based with assignments/tasks, where appropriate, to contextualise learning. However, theory Units, which support the academic underpinning and knowledge of practical class work, may be delivered via lectures, seminars or online courses but may also be subsumed into practical classes to maintain contextually relevant delivery.

Successful completion of this NC would enable a candidate to progress to a range of HNC Awards (eg in Dance Performance etc). Whilst it is unlikely to lead directly to employment in dance, it does provide learners with a good grounding in dance, which will allow them to progress further in their studies. And once in employment, many continue to study dance or work towards professional recognition.

National Certificates also include opportunities for learners to develop Core Skills.

Who does this qualification suit

This NC is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • S5/S6 school pupils
  • School leavers
  • Adult returners to education
  • Learners looking to progress to an HNC/HND


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

Learners should have an interest and/or some experience in dance and performance. Those who have no formal qualifications may have suitable life or work experience to show that they will be able to undertake Units at SCQF level 6, eg adult returners.

Those who wish to undertake this qualification would benefit from previous experience of any of the following areas:

  • NPA in Dance at SCQF levels 4 or 5
  • National 5 Dance
  • Group of NQ Dance Units at SCQF level 5
  • Higher Dance Practice
  • Programmes of study and qualifications in dance offered by private dance schools/performing arts centres

However, the key criterion is that the learner has a realistic chance of achieving this qualification.


The NC in Dance at SCQF level 6 may provide progression opportunities to:

  • HNC Contemporary Dance Performance
  • HNC Dance Artists
  • HNC Professional Dance Performance
  • HNC Musical Theatre

Also, once in employment in the dance/performing arts sector, there are opportunities for continued study dance or working towards professional recognition.


Centres not already approved to deliver this qualification need to

How to assess

Each Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for the Unit.

Assessment of this NC is through a series of practical and theoretical assessments or tasks. Some assessments will be carried out under supervised conditions and practical assessments are recorded.

Each Unit can be assessed separately. However, there are opportunities to combine the delivery and assessment of various Units. For example, the Dance: Anatomy, Conditioning and Safe Practice Unit works well with a wide range of different dance genre Units, as well as the Dance: Etiquette and Personal Development Unit.

Practical Units require that candidates demonstrate technical and performance skills and techniques for particular dance genres and other aspects of dance. Evidence for theoretical Units can take a wide variety formats including written work; e-portfolios; presentations; wikis, blogs etc.

Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) are available for selected Units and can be found on SQA’s secure website. ASPs identify specific opportunities for integration with other Units. To assist assessors, there are ASPs in traditional format for some theory Units and filmed versions for some practical Units.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award code: GJ68 46 (72 SCQF credit points)

SCQF level: 6

National Certificate in Dance at SCQF level 6 Group Award Specification (567 KB)

The National Certificate in Dance at SCQF level 6 consists of 2 mandatory Units (12 SCQF credit points) and 10 optional Units (60 SCQF credit points).